Farm Profile: Blackjack Valley Farm


Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Perched on the rim of the lush green valley for which it is named, Blackjack Valley’s farmland slopes down to the valley floor where the creek, now dammed by otters, has created a seasonal pond. Small herds of Black Angus and dairy cattle dot the fields. Another 20 acre parcel is home to Farmer Karen Olsen’s pig and goat herds, a disease prevention strategy to keep the cows as healthy as possible. Every precaution is made to maintain the safety and cleanliness of Blackjack’s raw milk dairy.

Karen’s father brought home the family’s first cow when she was 5 1⁄2, sparking a love of farming. Within a few years she was hired to take over the milking for an injured neighbor, receiving the milk in return to do with as she pleased. She would pedal her bike home from milking, two full buckets hanging from her handle bars, to process it in her mother’s farm kitchen. How the dairy industry has changed over the years!

As we entered life with COVID-19, Karen was in a unique position to help her loyal customers continue to feed their families, many of them with up to 10 children. She created “Pandemic Packs” of specially priced, unusual meat cuts, and continued to provide them with raw milk. She is passionate about feeding the hungry, her motto being “Save. Spend. Share.” In that vein, Karen also took on the task of running our sister market, Fresh Food Revolution, out of her barn. After a lifetime of farming the thought of retiring with her husband “sounds boring,” she says. Her greatest regret is that there are no family members clamoring to take over her business and maintain this beautiful piece of fertile valley land.

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming. Photo taken by Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun

Article: The Kitsap Fresh Warehouse

The Kitsap Fresh Warehouse
Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Picture a bowl full of salad greens, crumbly cheese, smoked nuts, crunchy radishes, tender sprouts, napped in a creamy handmade dressing, with a slice of fresh bread slathered in churned butter on the side. You might ask, how did this healthy meal arrive on your dinner table? This week we are pleased to bring you the first in a series of articles aimed at keeping you in the know about your online farmer’s market. We begin at the hub, the Kitsap Fresh warehouse.

Following the trail of just one ingredient from our bowl, we find the salad greens growing on a local farm in Kitsap County. After washing the freshly harvested greens, the farmer then bags and tags them, with your personal I.D. labels provided by the website. Next, the greens are delivered to our warehouse, along with the rest of this week’s harvest for packaging into your curbside pickup order.

Kitsap Fresh provides all licensing and permits, website management, marketing, and food distribution, allowing farmers and producers of every size to do what they do best – grow, harvest and process delicious food. Interacting with 200-300 weekly customers, while practicing safe distancing standards, is also handled by our warehouse staff. In addition, we offer bags of salad greens from multiple growers, as well as a plethora of other assorted food options. Imagine how diverse that bowl of salad will become as the growing season progresses!

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.